My Friend's Secret, my friend in his easy chair


 I FOUND my friend in his easy chair,

With his heart and his head undisturbed by a care;

The smoke of a Cuba outpoured from his lips,

His face like the moon in a semi-eclipse;

 

His feet, in slippers, as high as his nose,

And his chair tilted back to a classical pose.

I marvelled much such contentment to see—

The secret whereof I begged he'd give me.

He puffed away with re-animate zest,

As though with an added jollity blest.

"I'll tell you, my friend," said he, in a pause,

"What is the very 'identical' cause.

"Don't fret!—Let this be the first rule of your life;—

Don't fret with your children, don't fret with your wife;

Let everything happen as happen it may,

Be cool as a cucumber every day;

If favourite of fortune or a thing of its spite,

Keep calm, and believe that all is just right.

"If you're blown up abroad or scolded at home,

Just make up your mind to let it all come:

If people revile you or pile on offence,

'Twill not make any odds a century hence.

For all the reviling that malice can fling,

A little philosophy softens the sting.

"Run never in debt, but pay as you go;

A man free from debt feels a heaven below;

He rests in a sunshine undimmed by a dun,

And ranks 'mid the favoured as A No. 1.

It needs a great effort the spirit to brace

'Gainst the terror that dwells in a creditor's face.

"And this one resolve you should cherish like gold,

—It has ever my life and endeavour controlled,—

If fortune assail, and worst comes to worst,

And business proves bad, its bubbles all burst,

Be resolved, if disaster your plans circumvent,

That you will, if you fail, owe no man a cent."

There was Bunsby's deep wisdom revealed in his tone,

Though its depth was hard to fathom I own;

 

"For how can I fail," I said to myself,

"If to pay all my debts I have enough pelf?"

Then I scratched my sinciput, battling for light,

But gave up the effort, supposing 'twas right;

And herein give out, as my earnest intent,

Whenever I fail to owe no man a cent.